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Abuse to purpose: Indy man shares domestic violence story in hopes to raise awareness and benefit Coburn Place

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Posted at 11:03 PM, Mar 02, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man says he wants people to know they aren't alone when it comes to domestic violence situations.

He has turned his abuse into purpose, by advocating for those trying to escape an abusive situation.

"There is help and people can survive it," Adam Clevenger said.

Every year for his birthday, Clevenger gives back to Coburn Place by holding a fundraiser.

Coburn Place is a domestic violence shelter in Indianapolis that equips survivors with all the tools they need to get on their feet, from fully furnished emergency housing to support.


"Survivors need support to be able to heal and create a fresh start on their own terms," Julie Henson, who works at Coburn Place, said. "Everyone deserves a safe home."

On Thursday, the organization was celebrating Clevenger's 40th birthday.

The first year Clevenger decided he was going to do a fundraiser, he had a goal of $250.

He surpassed that in 2017, and raised $1,700.

That has since grown exponentially. This year, he has raised more than $17,000.

In the six years he has collected, he has raised more than $53,000 for Coburn Place.

"Adam is an incredible person and supporter. The question often isn't what does Adam do, but what doesn't Adam do," Henson said.

Clevenger's reason in donating is personal.

He experienced abuse as a child.

"I stood there and watched many time, my dad abuse my mom and really didn't feel like I had a voice, couldn't do anything," Clevenger said.

Clevenger said his mom escaped the abusive relationship when he was just 4-years-old.

It's something he called terrifying, yet courageous.

adam clevenger

He and his mother relied on an emergency shelter like Coburn Place.

"It was pivotal for us to have a safe place to go," he said.

He isn't alone.

Thousands of people face domestic abuse every year. It's something IMPD says has skyrocketed in recent years.

IMPD provided the number of abuse cases reported:

  • 2021, more than 6,000
  • 2020, nearly 5,700
  • 2019, around 4,700

Clevenger hopes that sharing his story will inspire others.

"Oftentimes the victim feels a lot of shame around abuse," he said. "I personally believe that as the victims, as the survivors, we're the ones who should own the story. We should be more confident in telling our story."

If you are dealing with a domestic violence situation here are some resources:

Indy Champions for Domestic Violence Resources

National Domestic Violence Hotline


Beacon of Hope Crisis Center

6920 S. East St. Suite B, Indianapolis, IN 46227

Phone: 317-731-6131

Crisis Line: 317-731-6140

Domestic Violence Network

9245 N Meridian St., Indianapolis, 46260

Phone: 317-872-1086

Firefly Children & Family Alliance

2240 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN, 46208

Phone: 317-634-6341

Crisis Phone: 317-327-2480, 317-327-4969

Silent No More

9245 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46260

Phone: 317-728-6733

Coburn Place Safe Haven

604 E. 38th St., Indianapolis, IN 46205

Phone: 317-923-5750

Julian Center

2011 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46202

Phone: 317-941-2200

Crisis Phone: 317-920-9320

Salvation Army Ruth Lilly Women & Children's Shelter

540 N. Alabama St., Indianapolis, IN 46204

Phone: 317-637-5551

Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence

1915 W. 18th St., Suite B, Indianapolis, IN 46208

Phone: 317-917-3685